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Soccer never cast its spell over Panama as it has with the rest of Latin America -- here baseball is king, yet stadium crowds and big-league games are not common. Games are mostly by national and local teams vying for regional championships. For spectator sports, check out the horse races (below) for a lively show and lots of colorful Panamanian characters. Walking and bicycling are best on the Amador Causeway, especially early in the morning with the sunrise.

Bird-watching -- Serious birders will want to visit renowned sites such as Pipeline Road. Within the city limits, Natural Metropolitan Park is a fine spot for glimpsing some of the more than 200 species found here. Check the Panama Audubon Society's website, www.panamaaudobon.org, for upcoming field trips to the park and other destinations around the city.

Hotel Spas & Workout Facilities -- Nearly every moderate to high-end hotel has a fitness center, and major hotels have full-service spas, which are the best in the city. Especially noteworthy are the spas at the Veneto, Decapolis Radisson, and Marriott. These hotels allow you to book a session even if you're not lodging there.

Biking Along the Causeway -- While downtown Panama City's chaotic, pot-holed streets don't exactly lend themselves to biking, the Amador Causeway and the surrounding residential neighborhoods are a perfect spot to spend a couple hours burning off those patacones and yucca fritas. Most shops also offer "family bikes" for up to four people. Bikes & More, located just past the Figali Convention Center (tel. 314-0103; daily 9am-9pm) rents bicycles for $5 to $7 (£2.50-£3.50) per hour, and motor scooters for $30 (£15) an hour. Bikes Moses, farther up the causeway (tel. 211-8579; Mon-Fri 8:30am-9pm and Sat-Sun 7am-9pm), rents bikes for $5 to $7 (£2.50-£3.50) an hour, and kids' bikes at $1.50 (75p). Both rental agencies also have "family bikes," pedal-operated carts for four, which cost $14 (£7) an hour.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.